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It's an attack on democracy: Rahul Gandhi

india Updated: May 26, 2013 13:22 IST

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday, in Raipur termed the Maoist attack on his party leaders, which left senior leader Mahendra Karma dead, and several others injured, as not an attack on Congress but an attack on democracy.

"It is not an attack on Congress. It is an attack on democracy. But, we'll not fear from such an attack and continue to move forward with enthusiasm," Rahul Gandhi said.

Gandhi addressed media briefly at the Raipur Congress Bhawan after reaching here from New Delhi at about 2am on Sunday.

"I met VC Shukla and other injured leaders at a hospital. As soon as his condition becomes stable, he'll be sent to Delhi," he said.

"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi will also be visiting and meeting the victims this morning," Gandhi said.

Former union minister VC Shukla and several others were injured when heavily-armed Maoists ambushed a convoy of party leaders inside a dense forest in Chhattisgarh's Bastar district on Saturday.

Responding to a question on the imposition of President's Rule in the state the Gandhi family scion said "it is not time to do politics".

"It is not time to do politics here. It's a very sad incident and we all have to stand by it together," he said.

Shukla and other injured party leaders are undergoing treatment at the Rama Krishna Care Hospital in Raipur.

Condemning the Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh, the BJP today expressed its "shock" and concern over frequent targeting of political activist by Naxals and called for an aggressive, unified and non-partisan strategy to fight the menace.

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi has termed the attack as gruesome, and said that the government needed to adopt a zero tolerance policy towards terrorism and Naxalism.

"Attack on Congress leaders in Darbha Ghati as gruesome, government should adopt zero tolerance policy towards terrorism and naxalism," Modi said.

BJP President Rajnath Singh also condemned the attack, saying that the fight against Naxalism and terrorism should be undertaken by all rising above partisan politics.

"It is shocking and most unfortunate. We condemn this outright," senior party leader and leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj tweeted.

Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar also condemned the attack and sought an aggressive and unified strategy to counter the Naxal threat.

"We condemn this dastardly and cowardly attack. Of late naxalites are targeting elected representatives and political leadership. This new aggressive strategy of Naxalites is a real threat to the Constitution and the rule of the law. It is a challenge to sovereignty," he said.

BJP pointed out that last year, the son of a Chattisgarh minister was killed while there have been attacks on BJP activists in Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.The party also referred to an earlier Maoist attack on TDP chief Chadrababu Naidu.

The party wished speedy recovery for those injured and condoled the death of the Congress leaders.

"Everybody must appreciate and agree on this basic fundamental challenge thrown up by Naxalites. It is not state specific but an inter-state issue. Yesterday's (Saturday) attack took plae in Sukma which is on the Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh border", Javadekar said.

"It is not development issue. It is about the Naxal belief to change power through violence," he said.

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday condemned the Maoist strike in Chhattisgarh.

"Attacks in Chhattisgarh should be condemned strongly, our condolences with the family of the deceased," Abdullah said

Meanwhile, minister of information and broadcasting Manish Tewari, has conveyed his sympathies to the families of those killed in the Chhattisgarh attack, saying that "as someone who has witnessed terrorism first hand, I can understand what families are going through".

Tewari further said that the entire incident needs detailed investigation and examination.

The CPI on Sunday condemned the attack, saying that violence and killings do not have a place in democracy.

"We firmly disapprove the violence and killings to gain political power in a democratic country," CPI National Secretary D Raja said.

Referring to the Salwa Judum movement, he said "Maoists must not resort to the politics of vendetta and revenge killings".